The Norwegian Divison of IAP, historical background

First chairman of IAP Norway Professor Olav Hilmar Iversen MD, DPhil
First chairman of IAP Norway Professor Olav Hilmar Iversen MD, DPhil

Prof. Olav H. Iversen, the first chairman of IAP Norway

Norwegian pathologists joined the IAP in 1982, after a process which lasted four years. The first chairman of the Division was the late Professor Dr Olav Hilmar Iversen (1923-1997), who held this position for 8 years.

Entering the IAP was mainly for symbolic reasons, as the Norwegian pathologists already had their own Society. Since the early 1920ies, regular Nordic pathology congresses had been arranged in the Nordic capitals. The Norwegian Society of Pathology was founded in 1923, the same year as the Norwegians organized the 2nd Nordic Congress in the capital Kristiania, later renamed Oslo. The founder of the Norwegian Society of Pathology was Professor Dr Francis G Harbitz (1867-1950), who chaired the Society till 1935 .
Until 1978, the Society included both surgical and clinical pathologists. After the separation from the microbiologists in 1978, a joint membership in IAP through the Society was suggested by the chairman Dr Helge Stahlsberg. As the Society of Pathology is a part of the Norwegian Medical Union, non-medical membership is impossible, thus excluding groups as veterinarians and odontologists. The problem was solved by founding the Norwegian Division of IAP as a "siamese" society. Thus, the chairman of the Norwegian Division is elected separately, and since 1990 a member of the board of the Society. The treasurer and secretary are shared between Division and Society. Two of the board members of the Division are non-medical. Because of this "siamese" organisation, the activities of the Norwegian Division of IAP has always been closely related to - and partially inseparable from - those of  the national Society.
In 1978, the Norwegian Division of IAP had 138 members, encluding 14 veterinarians and 6 odontologists with special interest in pathology. The number of non-medical members however is decreasing. In 2005, only 8 out of 233 members were non-medical, many of whom were retired.
Membership in the Society, and thus in the Division, has until recently been voluntary. From 2007, membership in the Society is automatically connected to membership in the Norwegian Medical Union and to position/specialty. Non-medical members may still register as associate members.